2019 AIR Mentors

Amanda Rush
Amanda Rush

I have almost two decades of experience developing for the web in general, and over a decade of experience developing for and using WordPress.

I’m a member of the WordPress Accessibility Team, and I teach people how to use WordPress and other web technologies with or without assistive technology.

I’m also very active in the larger WordPress community.

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Amy Carney, Alaska State Libraries, Archives, & Museums

Amy is the Publications Specialist for the Alaska State Libraries, Archives, & Museums in Juneau, Alaska, where she advocates for web and digital document accessibility. She was recently certified by IAAP as a Web Accessibility Specialist, in order to help improve the quality of service that her division provides to Alaskans.

She has worked as a web designer for 6+ years, after being a public librarian for 7 years. Currently, she participates in W3C’s CSS Accessibility Task Force, and chairs the State of Alaska’s Web Accessibility Working Group, which she started 2 years ago. When she’s not designing or developing with accessibility in mind, she’s teaching others about how to do the same.

Becky Gibson
Becky Gibson

Becky is the Senior Accessibility Strategist at Knowbility. Becky is a recognized expert in the field of digital inclusion and enabling accessible solutions. She had an extensive career as a Software Engineer and Accessibility Architect at IBM where she impacted products, customer strategy, and industry standards. She is passionate about making Web and mobile applications usable for people of all abilities.

She participated in the creation of W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG) and helped to develop and evangelize the Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) specification. Becky is currently a member of the W3C Accessibility Platform Architectures (APA) Working Group and the Personalization Task Force. She creates blog posts, documentation, training materials, and speaks at conferences to further the mission of digital inclusion for all.

Birkir Gunnarsson
Birkir Gunnarsson, BB&T

Birkir Gunnarsson is a Senior Subject Matter Expert with over a
decade of professional accessibility experience. A CPWA certified Yale
graduate and ex-paralympian bronze medalist, Birkir has been an active
advocate for web accessibility policy, awareness and legislation
across two continents (Europe and North America).

He has been a member of various technical W3C Working Groups, served
on European technical and legislative taskforces and is half of the
duo that has carried out regular digital accessibility benchmarking
studies of over 250 public websites in his home country of Iceland
since 2011. He also translated the NVDA screen reader into Icelandic.”

Carie Fisher
Carie Fisher, Deque

Carie Fisher is a Senior Accessibility Instructor and Developer at Deque.

She has been building websites professionally since 2005 and is passionate about accessibility and promoting diversity in the tech world.

She founded both the A11y Style Guide and the YouTube series Accessibility Talks to help educate others on website accessibility.

Joe Burkhart

Joe Burkhart works as a Lead Accessibility Solutions Engineer and is a Certified Professional in Web Accessibility (CPWA). He has experience as a developer and also consulting with project teams to build accessible products and services that meet WCAG and comply with CVAA.

He currently works in the telecommunications industry where he focuses on providing accessibility tools and resources that project teams need for success. Joe is passionate about finding technology solutions to accessibility problems.

John Northup
John Northup, WebAIM

John Northup, currently a web accessibility specialist at WebAIM, has worked in front-end development, usability, and accessibility for over fifteen years.

Projects have ranged from his hometown school district, to Ford Motor Company, 3M, major airlines, and other Fortune 500 firms.

He holds a master’s in information science from the University of Michigan.

Miranda Capra
Miranda Capra, BB&T

Miranda is a User Experience Research Principal and CPWA with a PhD in Human Factors and a degree in Computer Science.

She was a co-author of BB&T’s accessibility policy, conducts usability testing with people with disabilities, trains agile team members in many roles (QA, dev, UX, content), and conducts accessibility audits of sites.

Miranda is a champion of usable accessibility for assistive technology users of all skill levels.

Accessibility Consultant for a few organizations including Deque Systems on web, mobile and PDF accessibility, ensuring clients are producing not only compliant content but usable as well. She’s been consulting for over 11 years on external sites against WCAG 2.0 standards and now 2.1, technical writing, UX reviews, presentations, remediation, assessments and training were and are still part of her daily activities.

She was an active member of the Accessibility Consulting team at CNIB focusing on internal and external AODA and WCAG 2.0 Compliance and has obtained her IAAP CPWAS and Certified Tester certifications.

In her current role as an Accessibility Consultant, Naveesha provides accessibility audits for clients, Usability assessments, Document conversion and promotes accessibility awareness & services to organizations within Canada and the US while assisting anyone in need of accessibility information ensuring compliance with the current Section 508 of the U.S. Rehab Act, WCAG 2.0, W3C and AODA standards. These duties compliment her interests of volunteering for fundraising events and helping others in need either internationally or in local organizations.

Nicolas Steenhout
Nicolas Steenhout, Knowbility

A developer in the mid-‘90s, Nicolas Steenhout was approached by clients facing issues not yet part of the public consciousness. On the emerging web, accessibility hurdles were keeping people with disabilities from engaging with a technological revolution.

Confronted by this gap within the digital landscape, Nic began championing web accessibility. He transitioned into the non-profit sector where he collaborated with people with a wide variety of impairments and was introduced to new assistive technologies.

Twenty years on, Nic continues his accessibility work as a consultant. Having worked on three continents, he’s engaged with thousands of individuals with disabilities. Blogger, podcaster, public speaker, Nic offers real-world insight into everyday accessibility issues.

Rachel Cherry

Rachel Cherry (She/her) is a freelance software engineer and consultant with a focus on accessibility, higher education, and WordPress.

She enjoys helping organizations address their accessibility barriers and teaching others how to be more inclusive on the web.

As the Director of WPCampus, Rachel worked to organize and commission the only accessibility audit ever conducted on WordPress.

Raghavendra Satish Peri
Raghavendra Satish Peri, Deque

Rags, as he is fondly called, has an extensive background and experience in Digital Accessibility.

He has worked with various clients ranging from Travel & Hospitality, e-commerce, Entertainment, Banking & Finance.

Currently, he is a Digital Accessibility Consultant slaying web accessibility & mobile accessibility challenges.

Rajendra Prasad
Rajendra Prasad

Rajendra is a Principal Accessibility Consultant at a MultiNational Company with extensive experience in Web Accessibility. He has worked with various fortune 500 companies ranging from Banking, Insurance, Universities, Healthcare.

He enjoys developing prototypes using HTML/ARIA and share them with development teams. He is a Certified Professional in Web Accessibility (CPWA) from the IAAP. He is an accessibility trainer, interviewer and blogger.

He has been a part of Open AIR from 2013 (as a participant/mentor) and loves to work with different teams across the globe and educate teams/clients on Web Accessibility.

Sandeep Tirumangalam
Sandeep Tirumangalam, Deque

Sandeep lives in Hyderabad, India and has been involved in the accessibility community since 2009. He completed his bachelors from Bangalore University.

Sandeep became passionate about accessibility once he learned about web design and usability testing. He loves testing accessibility features on all different gadgets.

Now, he enjoys learning about WCAG guidelines how that pertains to the user experience.

Sarah Horton
Sarah Horton, The Paciello Group

Sarah is TPG’s UX Strategy Lead. She joined TPG in April 2013, after 20 years working as a user experience designer, developer, strategist, and lead in higher education, at Yale University, Dartmouth College, and Harvard University. She has done outreach to improve user experience, including books (Web Style Guide and Access by Design), working groups, presentations, and articles, including an article on web accessibility for the New York Times.

Her latest book, with Whitney Quesenbery, is called A Web for Everyone: Designing Accessible User Experiences.

Sarah is closely involved with TPG’s accessible user experience offerings, including usability testing and organizational process reviews.

Saroj Bala
Saroj Bala

Thirteen years of digital customer experience with expertise as designer/developer and skills in providing simple tech support. Five years of professional business experience in the web accessibility field with expertise as an assistive technology tester and skills as an accessibility adviser.

Previously worked for SAPIENT as a UI/UX developer, Hindustan Times Media Ltd as a web designer/developer and AEQUOR as a web developer.

Accessibility expertise includes: Responsive Web Design, HTML5, JavaScript, WAI-ARIA, WCAG 2.0, and Modern Web development techniques.

Hands on experience in branding and identity, designing prototypes, Developing div based structure, Cross Browser compatibility, User Experience Technologies,Photoshop, CSS3 and Dreamweaver.

Srinivasu Chakravarthula
Srinivasu Chakravarthula

Srinivasu is an accessibility evangelist with about 16+ years of experience.

He is certified by IAAP; worked at fortune 500 companies including Yahoo!, PayPal, currently works at Informatica.

Also founder of ServeOM Inclusion.

Know more on http://srinivasu.org and http://serveominclusion.com.

Steve Sawczyn
Steve Sawczyn, Optum

Born blind, Steve Sawczyn has been involved in accessibility all his life, professionally, since 1999. He believes that digital equality can enable and empower all people, regardless of ability to reach their full potential.

After graduating college, Steve founded an assistive technology and training company in the state of Maine where he provided services to the state, to Veteran’s Affairs, numerous school districts but most importantly, directly to individuals. He then accepted a position with Target Corporation where he was instrumental in embedding accessibility throughout the organization. In addition, Steve worked with Target’s on- and off-shore teams to help them become champions of accessibility. Steve then accepted a position with Deque Systems where he works with numerous Fortune 50 clients as a solutions architect.

He lives in Minnesota with his wife Jenn and two children, Gabby and Markus.

Tim Harshbarger, Deque

Tim has assisted project teams in making their applications accessible for over 24 years. He spent most of that time with a Fortune 30 company before joining Deque.